The Mammy statue in Washington was to have been the culmination of a two-decade campaign to erect such monuments in every southern state by the UDC and its companion United Confederate Veterans, which together formed one one of the most formidable lobbying groups of the age. Their goal was nothing less than to rewrite the history of the Civil War. It rested on three main precepts: that slavery was not the cause of the conflict; that it was a struggle for Southern independence over Northern aggression; and that slaves never sought their freedom but were only too glad to be civilized under the hand of a superior race. All of this was romanticized under the rubric of “The Lost Cause,” in which a martyred South was defeated by a rapacious North solely due to the weight of numbers. The Yankees had the bigger battalions, not the better reasons.
The South may have lost the war but in the 50 years after Reconstruction was undone in 1877, it won the second battle: an ideological struggle in which Southern apologists imposed on the national consciousness a revisionist narrative of the conflict, its causes and its consequences. Central to this enterprise, as the historian David Blight writes in his masterly Race and Reunion, was the construction of monuments that, from the mid-1880s to the mid-1920s, memorialized the myth of the “Lost Cause.” Their erection was not to memorialize, but to polemicize.
via Daily Beast It’s Time for the Lost Cause of the South to Get Lost